Lose yourself to dance, know yourself better

Mar 07, 2014

Could managers gain a new kind of understanding about their interaction with colleagues and employees by 'dancing'? That's the question arising from new research published this month in the International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion.

Management is usually considered a stiff and rational business, decisions made based on fiscal studies, and market forces. However, Anneli Hujala, Sanna Laulainen and Kaija Kokkonen of Department of Health and Social Management, University of Eastern Finland, in Kuopio, have studied whether creative movement ('dance') might improve a manager's awareness concerning their interaction.

The team encouraged volunteers to "dance their feelings" and videotaped them so that hidden insights and emotions might be extracted. They suggest that creative movement harnessing the whole body may give rise to new knowledge about management interactions. Most intriguingly, they suggest that a person's might reveal unconscious and unnoticed thoughts about their life and their position in the workplace and so highlight the aesthetic and embodied dimensions of management. The researchers point out that being good at dancing is irrelevant to their research: it is simply about creative expression through music - losing oneself to dance, as it were, to borrow from a recent pop song.

They concede that they received a great deal of doubtful feedback on how applicable the method would be in 'real life' and how many 'real' managers would dare to surrender themselves to creative movement when the purpose is to research something pertaining to their professionalism. However, their volunteers, although known through personal connections to the team, were all too willing to take part in this kind of experimental study, in which 'dance' was used as a method, instead of a conventional research interview.

It remains to be seen whether this novel and evocative embodied research approach is more widely adopted. However, it would be interesting for any of us to test what our body, through creative movement, could tell us about how we interact with each other.

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More information: "Manager's dance: reflecting management interaction through creative movement" in Int. J. of Work Organisation and Emotion, 2014, 6, 40-57

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User comments : 3

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Nik_2213
not rated yet Mar 07, 2014
ROFL. They can dance all they please, but if they won't eschew fawning focus groups in favour of studying minority reports, they're storing trouble...
thewhitelilyblog
not rated yet Mar 07, 2014
Amen, Nik. That is, if I know what you mean. They listen for the middle of the bell curve instead of listening for the meaning of the extremes.
Scroofinator
not rated yet Mar 07, 2014
The only true dance test is DDR anyways

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